Politics and the internet

My thoughts on how the Liberal Democrats should approach the online elements of the next general election are up on the New Statesman blog:

Later this year will be the 10th anniversary of my first website: a dozen or so static HTML files, livened up with an animated graphic and a Javascript quiz – a little bit of interactivity even back then!

Looking at how my use of the internet for politics since then has multiplied – emails, blogs, more emails, Facebook, yet more emails, Twitter, even more emails, an experiment with Bebo, and yet more emails – I would say I’ve learnt three key things about technology and politics.

First, you don’t have to know how to do the technology – you can get other people to help with that – but understanding what you want out of it and the new opportunities it offers is vital.

Second, it helps bring political success – I wouldn’t have got elected an MP without it.

And third, as much of the technology has got easier and easier to do, getting the technical details correct is – while still key – becoming less important compared to getting your mindset right.

I’m quite taken at the moment with a quote from the American writer Clay Shirky, which makes this last point in a slightly different way: “The revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools. It happens when society adopts new behaviours.”

You can read the full piece over there.

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